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STATUS: Complete


ARCHIVE: SJ Relationship Archive and Heliopolis; all others yes but please contact me first

AUTHOR'S NOTES: This episode has also been disseminated to death, but -- when something pops into my head, I just *have* to write it! Feedback very welcome.

Copyright (c) October 2000

Random Thoughts: A Hundred Days of Loneliness by eowyn_girl

I stomp my way ahead of the others, away from Edora ... and away from him.

Mostly away from him. His crushing insensitivity just moments before may have been quite accidental, but it had been devastating all the same. The days, the weeks ... the *months* I had devoted to bringing him back had been rendered an absolute waste in an instant -- a complete, utter waste of energy and emotion. There had been no need for me to be so desperate in my attempts to bring him back to Earth. Back home, to the SGC, where I thought he belonged.

Back to me.

There had been no need to build the particle accelerator, no need to stay up night after night working my way through meticulously thought-out plans. There had been no need to rub bleary eyes as I retired to bed each night, too weary to work through another simulation while torturing myself with dreams of him gazing up at the Edoran night sky longingly, wondering which way was Earth ... and which way was *home*. There had been no need for Teal'c to have risked his life digging himself out from underneath the buried Edoran Stargate, or for Daniel to flit from ally to ally in his own desperate attempts to get the Colonel home --

-- There had been no need for me to reveal to Janet that I had missed him.

I sigh as I realise what an utter fool I had made of myself in front of Janet. It was true that I had been tired ... and that I wasn't my usual self but -- there were a dozen excuses why I allowed myself to succumb to a moment's weakness for understanding, but the plain truth was that I didn't have enough control to *not* admit it. To admit to someone that Yes, I *did* miss him. His smile, his gestures ... his irreverent humour. It had been a plea for understanding, a plea for *someone* to acknowledge my plight, my heroic struggle both inside and out to bring him back home. I wanted someone to know how much I missed him, how much I wanted him back, because ...

I hadn't realised how much I felt for him until he was gone, and had no way back ... and then it had hit me. Oh how it had hit me then. It felled me like a ton of bricks, brought it so clearly and irrefutably to the centre of my senses that every particle, every sinew of me hurt and ached with the knowledge that my realisation may have been too late. Instantaneous horror burned its way out through to my every extremity. I couldn't face the possibility that I may not be able to see his face, or never be around him again ...

Even with the knowledge that the Tollan could've had a ship in the Edoran vicinity in a year's time, my absolute hunger to bring him back hadn't diminished. My stubbornly insistent inner voice kept on telling asking -- He doesn't deserve to have to wait a year to be rescued now, does he? Daniel knew it was the best they could do, and it *was* the best that we could come up with in such a small space of time.

But I found that I couldn't wait a year for him to come back ... to come back to *me*.

And so I worked. I worked the way I had after my mom died, when dad tried to get me to forgive him for not picking her up, tried to get me to release my anger at him and at life for letting something like that happen to her. I worked with a single minded devotion that was subject only to the basic need for sustenance. Janet and Daniel supported my dogged single-mindedness by supplying me with enough coffee to get me through each night, serving it to me with mixtures of admiration and pity in their eyes. Teal'c lent me his strength and belief that I could do it, build this monstrosity of an invention that even a few years before I had thought impossible ... just so I could bring him back home to me. To all of us ...

Somehow, I'd thought that nothing was impossible, nothing I couldn't do to bring Jack back.

I sigh bitterly at my naivety and stupidity. I bite my lip almost defiantly, as if I can take my mind off bitter self-recrimination with physical pain. Utter, hopeless stupidity. We should've just left him here on Edora, where he could've played happy families with Laira for the rest of his life. He would've been happy, right? Released from the heavy burden of being part of Earth's first line of defence, he would've welcomed the opportunity to settle down into a new life, on this planet lush with life and teeming with the potential for a quiet happiness that he could never have found on Earth. Why didn't I think of that, before I wasted the last few months of my life bringing someone back who didn't want to be brought back?

Absently I draw circles in the dirt where I stand, impatient to get back to the base. Impatient actually, to exercise the almost compulsive need to run as far away from him as I can before he can speak to me, to keep on running so that no one could turn pitying eyes on me, feeding me almost unbearable sympathy at Jack's indifferent acceptance of my greatest gift. I didn't *want* anyone's pity about anything, least of all this. It was mind-numbingly embarrassing, and I can feel it already emanating in Daniel's sympathetic glances. Even Teal'c's unguarded frowns of faint disapproval seems unbearable. I sigh deeply. I just have to get off this planet - and the sooner the better.

I hear faint snatches of his conversation with her, but I resolutely keep my back turned and my attention focused on the ground. I definitely did *not* want to hear anything more than what I had already heard ... it's more than I can handle right now, knowing that he isn't happy to be going home or to his former life at all. I feel sick with the realisation that nothing between us will ever be the same again.

Crunching footsteps announces his proximity behind me as I hear him utter loudly, "Well? Are we going or what?" I want to rant and rave, shout abuse at how inconsiderate he's being, after the months of torture he had put us through. We had *all* been worried about him, and we hadn't done anything without praying for him in our thoughts. *I* hadn't done anything without thinking of him, and his safe return to Earth. And instead ... instead he had been out enjoying himself, gallivanting around Edora and living this charming rural existence!

I know I'm probably not being fair to him, but right now I don't care. It isn't fair. It simply isn't fair that I should be responsible for the perverseness of bringing him home when he didn't want to be brought home, and it isn't fair that he'd been *happy* here, while I'd been making myself miserable with worry about his welfare. It just isn't *fair*.

It isn't fair that he'd found someone, someone to share his life with ... and it wasn't me.

I've tried to hide that awful truth from myself these past few months, and now ... I guess, maybe, I have to hide it even more. There's absolutely *no way* I'm ever going to reveal what I feel -- felt -- for him when he had been missing. Not that I was going to tell him anyway, but that would've been *my* choice, sensibly recognising that with our current military ranks, it probably wasn't a good idea to complicate things with feelings and emotions. But now ... Oh God, now ... I feel like there's an oppressive weight upon me to keep those self-same feelings to myself. Definitely to myself, or to confine that knowledge to as many people as humanely possible.

I groan inwardly. Janet ... I'll have to speak with Janet. And Daniel ... why in god's name did I take him up on his offer to talk? I'd revealed more than I'd wanted to about my newly-discovered feelings for Jack, and now the memory eats at me like acid in my insides.

I sigh again. The gate seems to totter as a strong breeze blows past, messing up my hair in the process. I fidget with the GDO as Daniel dials for Earth, impatient for the opportunity to run away. A shadow creeps over me and with a sudden jolting pain I realise that I don't even have to turn around to know who it is.

He looks different - distinctly Edoran, but still with a trace of the Colonel around the edges. He's shabbier in appearance but strangely seems sharper in instinct, his spirit more alive to the world than before. His eyes, those intense hazel orbs that had kept me going the past few months peers at me with a slightly questioning expression, as if to say, What's wrong?

What's wrong Sir, is that I missed you but you didn't miss me. I ... *love* you, but you obviously don't love me. End of story, nothing's wrong at all, *Sir* .

"Sam?" He brushes me lightly on the shoulder with his fingertips, roughened by the hard outdoor work. "You've been quiet."

My hand grips the GDO tightly. I want to blurt out my frustration at him, my hurt and my anger at wasting the last few months of my life in constant worry when I hadn't needed to, about the emotional roller coaster I'd been on pushing away and then finally having to accept the fact that I had feelings for him. It was all his fault! If only he hadn't gotten himself stuck here ...

I give him a somewhat withering look, and pretend to fiddle with the straps of my pack. I suddenly feel so angry with him that I feel it coursing up towards my face, an anger that burns so intensely within me it almost renders me incapable of speech. He keeps his gaze on me obstinately as if compelling me to answer him.

"Nothing Sir, I'm just tired." I reply in a neutral tone, astutely avoiding his penetrating gaze.

"The guys said you built that particle accelerating ... thing ... to get me home." I can feel his eyes on me, his intensity smouldering even through my shield of detachedness. "Thanks Sam."

I take a deep, deceptively calming breath. "No problem Sir, it's good to have you back." I stalk away, unable to stomach his belated niceness. I'm not capable of pretending that nothing has happened. I don't want to pretend. I don't want to feel that I'm not even entitled to be miserable for what I had suffered the last few months. It's probably a worrying bout of self-pity, but maybe I deserved to wallow in my self-pity for a while.

Daniel came over and protectively grasps my arm, at the same time planting himself carefully between me and Jack. "Come on Sam," he said gently, in an almost coddling tone. "It's time to go."

Surprisingly I'm not offended by his tone and actually find myself hungry for more of his friendly tenderness. It was flattering and nice, especially juxtaposed against Jack's meticulously polite gratitude for making it possible for him to return to Earth. And maybe I need someone to understand the hopeless position I had put myself in ... falling in love with my Colonel .

I sigh and step through the shimmering event horizon, wincing inwardly as Jack shoots a curiously hurt look my way. Does he think I don't care for him? What had all those months of work been for, if not for *him*?

He's probably unaware of how much effort I'd put into bringing him home, but I don't seem to care. I'm too tired to care. I need a hot bath to soothe my frayed nerves, I need sleep, and I need time - alone - to think. To think what I need to do to make myself feel better. To think of a way to make my immediate future at the SGC more pleasant than the almost unbearable uncomfortableness I envision right now, working side by side with a person who wouldn't know how much I care for him, how much I feel for him. My heart feels ten times heavier than this afternoon when I had stepped through the gate to Edora, when I had no inkling of the calamity that would befall me just hours later ...

Was there anything really the matter?

I love my Colonel, but he doesn't love me. Perhaps I am realising it a hundred days too late.

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